Originally Posted by simfr
...If it is not too much trouble, perhaps you could suggest a few of your favorites (especially since I only have a week). She really enjoyed the BVIs but I would like to do more than just cruise from one mooring to the next.
Part of me hates to give away my hard found secrets, but since you asked so nicely...
Some of my favorite, less populated anchorages:
Normans: Benures Bay: You most likely will not be alone here. I often anchor
here the night before heading back to Road Harbour. The guidebook recommends the east end of the bay, but I've found I don't get backwinded on the west side. Soldier Bay now has moorings which make anchoring
difficult. However, if you pick up a mooring here, you may have the bay to yourself. Both bays are convenient to the Bight, the Indians and the Caves.
Peter: Little Harbour is very well situated for a last night as well, but the drop off is more steep than at Benures Bay. Key Bay on the back side is a bay I've only been at for the day, but would love to stay at for a night when the wind
is more northerly. (I'm usually there in the summer when the wind
is more southerly)
Virgin Gorda area:
Baths/Spanish Town. To avoid the boat scramble at the Baths, I often anchor
off Spanish Town and take the dingy over to the Baths (or take the big boat over before the crowds arrive.) During the day it gets rolly here from the boat wakes entering Spanish Town harbour, but I've always had a solid night. I anchor in front of all the moorings in sand. You won't be alone. Sometimes I snorkel the Dogs
after most boats have left and anchor at Spanish Town just before Sunset. It puts me in a great position to get to the Baths before the crowds the next morning. Spanish Town offers some nice shops and restaurants. The dinghy dock
is huge and obvious when you enter.
Savannah Bay: I found it much easier to enter and negotiate than the guidebook makes it sound. Most boats congregate in Pond Bay. If you anchor just inside the entrance, you'll likely have boats going past you, but privacy in the evening. On my last night there Pond Bay become a zoo, so I pulled up anchor and headed up to Tetor Bay north of the point. I anchored in the middle of a huge sand patch and had the entire bay all to myself, though there are homes on shore there. The snorkeling in Tetor Bay is superb - The best coral
I've seen in the BVIs, very accessible and much better than The Indians. Getting into Tetor Bay from the south can be a bit tricky so enter with good light. Either follow the obvious sand highway somewhat centered or head northwest just inside the reef and cut east towards shore to gain the big sandy patch. You may wish to scout it by dinghy
or snorkel the first time. Even if you don't anchor here, check out the snorkeling. The power line marked on the map runs along the north side of the sandy patch, so you'll be well clear of it if you drop your hook in the middle. I've seen many stingrays in the sand of Pond Bay.
Long Bay behind Mountain Point - I only anchored there once, but was the only boat.
Cam Bay: Reasonable snorkeling day anchorage. I've sometimes been the only boat there.
Lee Bay: No backwinding due to low saddle at the head of the bay which leads to Cam Bay. There is an excellent fissure sea cave you can snorkel into on the point which forms the northern edge of the bay. It blows "The Caves" away. You can snorkel to it from either Lee Bay or the bay to the north. I usually see 2-4 boats anchored here.
Bay north of Lee Bay - This is the real secret and my favorite BVI anchorage. I've anchored here about 8 times now and only had another boat in there with me once. The middle of the bay is a coral
reef, but in close to shore it's all sand. The SE corner has the largest free patch. I've seen more fish
here than anywhere else which drives the birds into a feeding frenzy. There is another fairly good sea cave on the point to the north which again is bigger than anything at the caves, but the one to the south mentioned above is bigger. Wild goats are also very common here. I also commonly see sea turtles off the points. You'll likely get backwinded so allow swing room.
Tortola: Trunk? Bay - 2 bays just west of the big point that separates these bays from Cooten Bay. There are two beautiful sandy beaches here that I've stopped at 4 times now and have never seen another soul. Beware of the rocks off the point separating the two sub bays, otherwise it's all sand. When there is a north swell, it's excellent body surfing, but you can't land a dingy then and must swim in. I personally would not anchor here at night as it is exposed to weather changes, but its a great day stop.
Cane Garden Bay: A popular bay you won't have to yourself, but there is plenty of room to anchor behind all the moorings and just inside the reef. Sitting in your cockpit
, you'll have a view of the sunset with none of the other boats in your view and in the summer you'll have a better breeze than those on the ball close to shore. It's a good place to obtain more provisions. Guinness draft
in the can was only $1.37 so you can guess how I spent the money
I didn't spend on a Mooring.
Jost Van Dyke Area:
Sandy Spit Cay and Little Jost Van Dyke. Very popular during the day, I've often been the only one there at night. The guidebook calls it a day anchorage, but in my experience, the protection afforded by Little Jost, Green, the Sandy Spit and connecting reef is much better than the protection behind nearby Sandy Cay. Unfortunately, more cruisers seem to be figuring this out and it's less common I have it to myself than I used to. There are a couple small beaches on Little Jost Van Dyke you will likely have to yourself if you don't want to join the crowds on Sandy Spit Cay. You can anchor off them or head over from Sandy Cay Spit. On Sandy Cay Spit, the best snorkeling is along the reef extending south of the Cay. There is also good snorkeling in the gap between Green Cay and little Jost Van Dyke, but beware motor
boats use this gap to gain the ocean. If you like to snorkel in swell and see big fish
, snorkel the back sides of Green or Little Jost Van Dyke. I've snorkeled completely around both but recommend staying away from the shallow gap between Little Jost Van Dyke and Jost Van Dyke.
Sandy Cay (not spit) has a nice beach and some trails to walk. I snorkeled around it and found the snorkeling to be not very good. I sometimes hit it early morning when the overnighters are leaving and before the day users arrive. I find it a somewhat exposed anchorage, but worthy of mention.
Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke: You certainly won't have it to yourself, but the anchoring
is free and easy. There are several bars/restaurants, customs
, and a couple small grocery stores. I often do the opposite of the crowds and visit this during the day and stay at Sandy Spit overnight.
- I've only stopped here once for a few hours on my way to the Spanish BVIs and had it to myself. The bay on west side is bigger than it looks on the map. Two anchors would be ideal.
Many claim one can't avoid using moorings in the BVIs. I just spent three weeks there and never once picked up a night mooring.